Monday, January 14, 2013


This year has been off to a slow start for us…once again, illness hit our household hard during the holiday season.  I had started to feel a little puny on the morning of Christmas Eve, but managed to enjoy celebrating with our little family despite the sniffles.  (There’s emphasis on little family; since Alan landed a winter contract at Yellowstone, he was not able to be home for the holidays.  This was the first Christmas ever that we didn’t have everyone here – and I hated that!)  The Lackeys spent Christmas Day with Jeromy’s family, which was probably a good thing since I was going downhill fast.  One by one everyone in the house came down sick.  The doctor said mine was the old sinus/ear/throat infection, but during the time that I was on antibiotics I developed a cough that felt like my chest was being ripped apart.  This lasted over a week.
Two days ago was truly the first day that I have felt like doing anything since December 24th….truly!  Although I like having the television on in the background, I normally don’t sit and watch television.  However, there was a one-week period that watching television was about all I felt like doing.  Thank goodness for Netflix and for the 23 episodes of a wonderful little show called “Rosemary and Thyme” .  I found it to be purely delightful, bringing together two of my favorite things:  gardening and mystery.   If you enjoy watching “Murder She Wrote”, it’s a little like that…except that it takes place in Europe…and instead of Jessica Fletcher you get Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme.  These two ladies own a landscaping business, and hiring them to landscape your garden is a lot like inviting Jessica Fletcher for the weekend…someone is going to end up dead and it’s up to the heroines to figure it out.  It made being sick almost fun.  I was sad that there weren’t more episodes.
Of course, I’m not surprised that the whole metroplex is sick; our weather here is crazy!  We not only have summer and winter in the same week; we can have summer and winter in the same day.  Opal chicken might have a wonderful afternoon scratching and tearing up our yard, but with the overnight temperatures well below freezing, she spends the night inside with us:

With our illnesses seemingly at least somewhat resolved, it is now finally time to give some thought to things that I want to work on this year.  The garden is a never-ending project, but I am going to conquer it, if it’s the last thing I do!  The thing that chaps my hide is that Robert doesn’t work at it even one-fourth as hard as I do, yet he has great success.  I know that I’ve mentioned before that he was involved in establishing a community garden in the city in which he works, and he has his own little plot:

Well, you can’t believe the stuff he has been bringing home from there!  Looking at the picture below, you might think that he is holding carrots and beets (he does grow beets).  Nope!  Those are carrots and radishes:

Another radish:

The only success I seem to have is that I have pretty good luck in propagating plants from the few surviving things that we have in our yard.  I have started some blackberry bushes and a few herbs from cuttings from our yard.  I have enjoyed using these little tents that I bought from Greenland Gardener that fit over the raised bed kits we purchased from them.  When it’s really cold, I cover the tents with some blankets or rig up one of our extra heat lamps.

I also have increased the efficiency of our compost bin by making a little tube to stick in the middle of it. The thought was that by allowing air and water to move more freely through the center of the pile, it might just cook faster.   I bought some mesh “fabric” at Tractor Supply Company and cut a piece that was just large enough to make a tube with that was about 3”-4” across the top.  I bent the loose ends in on themselves with some pliers to secure them. 

Since we lost the lid to our main compost bin some time ago, I didn’t worry about making the tube level with the top and allowed it to stick out a bit:

We have another compost bin that we made out of a trash can, and I cut the core for that one down so that the lid would fit back on securely:

I have to say, this little core that I made has really helped the compost do its thing a lot faster.  This is good because our horrid little yard needs all the compost that I can get my hands on!
I am finally learning to give myself permission to work on more arts and crafts.  As always, I am still struggling with the little voice that whispers, “If you have time to do that, you might want to clean the __________ (fill in the blank).”  But I am going to shush those voices, at least every now and then, and learn some new skills, as well as trot out some old friends. 
A couple of days ago, I joined The Society of Decorative Painters.  Later this month I will join the local chapter which meets once a month.  I’m hoping to learn a lot from watching those ladies in action.  Since I can’t draw at all, I’m pretty sure that I will never be able to paint on canvas or anything like that, but if it involves tracing a pattern and throwing on some color, I’m excited to give it a try.  I’m hoping to find old furniture and things for the garden and breathe new life into them.
Mom and I have been yapping about Pinterest for quite some time.  Mom has over 16,000 pins on her boards.  I have been telling her that we need to actually try some of those recipes and crafts that we both have found so intriguing.  I call it “The Pinterest Project”, and I really, really want to spend this year making and doing some of the amazing things that are out there.  Mom has done a better job so far than I have…awhile back she made a cute little baby afghan:

Hopefully, there will be much more to come, as well as posts with links to where we found the “how-to” for the things we do.
I have recently returned to an old love.   Years ago I was heavily into counted cross-stitch, but work and kids and life and church and, well, just everything made me feel like I just plain didn’t have time for things like that.  I recently came across a pattern that made my toes tingle, and I just had to have it:

I started working on it in the first few days of illness, but stopped when my head hurt too much to concentrate.  Now that I can see again, I am looking forward to making this beautiful ode to nature for my house!
I’m not the only one in pursuit of new interests.  The World’s Most Beautiful Child had her first dance lesson last week.  In the days before her lesson she kept telling her mother, “Dance class…so bad!”, which, translated, means, “I want to go to dance class so bad!”.  There was a little crying when they first arrived (separation anxiety), but before long she was right in there, doing her exercises and learning whatever it is that little dancers learn.  (Her mother says that Paisley especially likes tap.)  In fact, Paisley is one of my biggest inspirations.  I’m thinking that if a two-year old is willing and able to develop talents and learn new things, maybe her old Lolee should give it a try.

So here’s to learning, growing…and staying well?